Think of your organization’s brand as its lifeblood and, as with anything, its well-being and growth requires nourishment. The best way to feed an effective marketing plan is with a healthy dose of marketing research.
As Peter Drucker famously said, “What gets measured gets managed.”
A marketing plan without the support of adequate research can spell d-i-s-a-s-t-e-r. Research and immersion is something Rhyme & Reason has always insisted on for every project we undertake. However, we also know very real restrictions exist in regard to budget and time.
Keep reading for some tips on how best to approach market research and, more importantly, why you should.
START WITH A PLAN
For most organizations, budget and time are the two biggest considerations (or obstacles) for conducting market research. Managing both takes planning and organization. Remember: Market research is an investment and must be treated as such. Set realistic goals on what you can spend (keeping in mind expected returns) as well as the time it will take to implement research and analyze and use the data you collect.
TAKE THE 20,000-FOOT VIEW
Work research into your marking plan by considering the long-term effect of not knowing where and who to focus your efforts on. Flying blind is a sure way to waste time and money.
CONSIDER THE SOURCE
For value-added research, start by doing some of your own. Figure out the right approach or method for your organization, and then identify the right organization or individual to partner with by gauging their experience with your particular industry. While you are contending with a million tasks, market research professionals focus on one thing and one thing only: getting the data you need to make sound decisions. In other words, an outside firm is able to take an objective, unbiased look at who you are.
Forget the hundreds of questions you can ask during the research process. Instead, focus on these:
- Who is your target audience?
- How can my brand help my audience?
- Why should they care?
- How is my brand different from my competitors?
- How can I convince my audience that these differences matter to them?
THREE RIGHTS DON’T MAKE A WRONG
Aim your focus toward asking the right questions of the right people in the right way. It’s that simple.
EXAMINE YOUR OPTIONS
Consider the different methods of research and what will work best for your organization:
- Focus groups
WHERE TO LOOK?
Your brand exists in different places these days — the digital world as well the real world. To thoroughly understand your total brand presence, set your research to consider all of the places your brand “lives.” Going back to the time factor, research can help ensure you’re focusing your efforts where they’re most needed.
We do a lot of social media research for our clients, digging deep into what they look like and how they’re perceived in the social realm. The results surprise most of of our clients, and they use our feedback to make changes to their social presence.
JUST SAYING NO?
Considered some options for conducting market research but still aren’t sold or think you really can’t find the money to do it? Keep that big question in mind: What will it cost you if your marketing strategy isn’t supported by research?